JACKSONVILLE - The Benton Lady Panthers ended their regular season with an outstanding overall record of 29-2. The Lady Panthers also won the 6A South with a perfect 14-0 conference record. On Thursday, the Lady Panthers continued their tear through 6A as when they took on Little Rock Parkview in the first round of the State Tournament.
Benton, the No. 1 seed, demolished Parkview winning 16-0 to move into the second round with ease. Starting pitcher Jessica Franklin made easy work of Parkview, striking out eight straight in the game on her way to a no-hitter.
Parkview opened the game by getting the first batter on after a hit by pitch. That runner was later out at second trying to steal after being gunned down by Sydnee Goldman behind the plate. Franklin struck out the next two to end the top of the first. Parkview did not reach base again in the game, nor did it make Benton have to make another play in the field as Franklin struck out the side in both the second and third.
For the Benton offense, the bats were wide awake and doing damage early as the Lady Panthers scored eight runs in the first on five hits, including a home run from Hailey Durham that drove in three and a two-RBI triple from Korie Parker. The Lady Panthers scored seven straight before Parkview could record an out in the inning.
The second inning was nearly identical to the first as Benton pushed across eight more, this time on six hits. Benton was on fire, but not against a very talented team on Thursday. Head coach Heidi Cox said that in order to stay hot in the tournament, her girls will have to make some adjustments when they take on Mountain Home in the round two. Mountain Home beat El Dorado 7-3.
“We are going to have to go out there and get after it,” Cox said. “They are a young team and they bunt a lot.”
As far as Thursday’s win is concerned, Cox was happy with the overall outcome.
“We got to feel the field and hopefully get out some of the nerves,” Cox said. “To just be there in that excitement was good.”
Taylor Atkinson led Benton at the dish, going 2 for 3 with three RBIs.
Durham followed with a 1 for 2 showing and three RBIs. Parker finished the day going 1 for 1 with two RBIs.
Benton bashed out 11 hits in the game. Benton will take on Mountain Home today in the round two. First pitch is set for noon today in Jacksonville.View more articles in: